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Toni Dove: Embodied Machines

February 25 - May 20, 2018

The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art presents the first survey of Toni Dove’s pioneering work, which operates at the crossroads of live performance, interactive narrative, and virtual reality. The exhibition explores more than 20 years of the artist’s projects, from early installations through her interactive cinema and stage performances and concluding with her most recent experiments at the forefront of digital technology and robotics. “Toni Dove: Embodied Machines” was curated by Matthew McLendon, formerly of The Ringling and now director of the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia.

Based in New York, Dove has been credited as one of the innovators of “interactive cinema.” Since the early 1990s, she has been interested in creating immersive experiences where the boundary between viewer and performer is blurred and the history of consumer culture and capitalism is examined. Dove’s collaborative practice brings together vanguard visual artists, filmmakers, fashion designers, robotics engineers, computer programmers, musicians, actors and writers. She, acting as the creative architect of experience, transforms the traditional artist studio system into a 21st-century idea incubator, using the work of art to inform technology.

© Toni Dove, Lucid Possession, video still, Theo and Bean research the Ghost, 2013. Courtesy of the Ringling Museum of Art.

© Toni Dove, Lucid Possession, video still, Theo and Bean research the Ghost, 2013. Courtesy of the Ringling Museum of Art.

Among the major works in the exhibition are Artificial Changelings (1998), a time travel installation in which a kleptomaniac in 19th-century Paris dreams of a 21st-century hacker; Spectropia (2001), a sci-fi film noir that involves a machine that creates virtual realities and the search for a lost inheritance; and Lucid Possession (2013), a musical thriller that unfolds with live music and robotic projection screens,  from the point of view of a programmer, her avatar and their real and virtual community of fans.

Dove has received numerous grants and awards, including recognition from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Greenwall Foundation, the Langlois Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, The LEF Foundation, mediaThe foundation inc. and the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2014/15, Dove was the Hirshon Artist/Director in residence at the New School for Social Research in Media Studies.

The exhibition is complemented by three live performances by the artist on March 9, April 13 and April 14, 2018. www.ringling.org.

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